Acrochordons, also called skin tags, are very common in derma condition. It may occur in up to half of the population its incidence increases with age. The most common sites for skin tags are the neck, the axillae, and the groin. Weight gain, improper moisture retention, hormonal and metabolic changes, constant rubbing and friction to the skin are the leading causes of skin tags. Consult a dermatologist to identify whether the growth is a skin tag. The dermatologist can give you multiple options for surgical excision, cauterization and laser removal of skin tag. But you can also naturally get rid of skin tags by applying, tea tree oil, castor oil, oregano oil, topical iodine and vitamin E. Let us see how to remove skin tags at home naturally and also understand in details about skin tags and the possible causes.
What are skin tags?
Skin tags are a common term for Acrochordons. Skin tags are harmless fleshy overgrowths that can appear on any part of our body. Skin tags are not painful, and they seldom cause any discomfort.
Skin tags are non-cancerous and benign. Groin and genital lesions usually resemble a skin tag but may be genital warts or condyloma. A thorough checkup with a dermatologist is recommended in case skin tags are mistaken for some other condition.
Skin tags remain a bare minimum size of 1 to 2 centimeters, but sometimes it can grow up to 5 centimeters (1). The only concern with them is their unsightly appearance, so mainly for cosmetic purposes, skin tags are removed.
Where are they found?
Skin tags are generally found in skin folds which are moist and warm. Skin tags are caused due to friction between skin or friction between skin and clothing material or jewelry.
Armpits are moist area and friction with clothing material causes skin tags. Back of neck often has friction with various necklace and jewelry.
Groin area has sweat retention, and tight underwear rubs against the skin causing skin tags. Under the breast, sweat retention and friction between the skin especially during summer season. Rubbing eyes constantly can lead to skin tags on eyelids.
What causes skin tags?
Apart from friction, the following can also be the contributing factors for skin tags.
The skin folds around areas of fat deposition increasing the surface area and creating more friction (2). Sweat retention is also more common in skin folds. The friction and moisture retention precipitate the formation of a skin tag.
Since the skin has been subjected to various kinds of friction for a prolonged time, skin tags are more commonly seen in higher age groups.
If a family member is diagnosed with the condition, the risk factor of the family increases. Skin tags are not present at birth; their frequency increases with age.
Females have shown a higher incidence of skin tags then males.
Certain endocrine syndromes and hormonal imbalances like menopause, polycystic ovarian syndrome and diabetes are the risk factors for skin tags (3).
The hormonal changes during pregnancy, particularly during the second trimester can also stimulate the growth of skin tags.
Metabolic syndrome is also associated with skin tags. Acrochordons represents a cutaneous sign for the syndrome. High total cholesterol, triglyceride, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and lower HDL cholesterol is seen along with skin tags (4).
How to remove skin tags clinically?
In a derma clinic, Skin tags are removed by any of the following methods –
The most recommended of all methods is an in-office procedure. In this, the skin is disinfected, and topical anesthesia is used to numb the affected part. A scalpel or surgical scissor is used to remove the tags.
A small swelling or blister that appears in the area which heals in a few weeks time.
Cauterization is burning off the skin tag. The tag then falls off within few days. The most popular method of cauterization is electrocautery.
This is mostly recommended for patients with light skin and non-hair bearing areas of the body. The dermatologist will either swab or spray a small amount of cold liquid nitrogen targeting the skin tag.
In recent times, the laser is the most popular method used to remove skin tags. For such procedures, a soft tissue laser such as a CO2 laser is used.
How to remove skin tags at home?
We are sharing with you the natural methods through which you can get rid of skin tags at home.
1. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is a very effective remedy for various skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis and skin tags (5). To remove a skin tag, 6 to 8 drops of tea tree oil is taken in a sterile cotton ball and bind to the skin tag with a bandage.
The cotton is kept in place for a minimum of 15 minutes at a time. This procedure is repeated twice or thrice daily till the tag falls off. If any allergy is witnessed, the process should be discontinued.
A sterile cotton ball soaked in apple cider vinegar is placed on the skin tag and held at its place by a bandage. It can be left overnight.
A patch test is recommended for this method as apple cider vinegar can irritate some individuals. The area will slightly darken, and the tag will fall off in a few weeks’ time (6).
3. Oil of oregano
Oil of oregano is an effective treatment against various kinds of bacterial and fungal infections. It serves both as a cleansing and numbing agent and helps get rid of skin tags (7).
It gradually dries out the skin tags. The reduction in size of the skin tags is because they are deprived of oxygenated blood. Eventually, they will turn dry out and fall off.
4. Topical iodine application
Swab soaked in iodine is carefully applied to the skin tag, and the procedure is repeated till the tag falls off.
5. Vitamin E
Vitamin E oil is applied to the skin tag and covered with a bandage and left overnight. Results can be expected within a couple of weeks. Vitamin E applied topically to a skin tag over an extended period might eliminate or reduce the appearance of the skin tag. It can be used in sensitive areas such as on eyelids.
6. Castor oil, baking soda
Two parts castor oil is mixed with one part baking soda. This mixture is then rubbed on the skin tags and left overnight. The next morning area is rinsed off with cold water.
The procedure is repeated nightly till the tag falls off. Castor oil acts by drying out the skin tags. After consistently applying it to the skin tag, the tissue will slowly dry out and become brittle (9).
7. Tying a string
In case of elongated skin tags, a sterile string is carefully tied around the skin tag which cuts off its blood supply. This causes the skin tag to die and fall off.
8. At home skin peel
This method is recommended for non-sensitive areas. Lemon juice applied directly on the skin tag on repeated application results in peeling of the skin and falling off the skin tag.
9. Banana peel
The inside of a banana peel is rubbed on the area of the skin tags, or it can be cut into small parts and secured to the skin tag with a bandage. The procedure can take up to few weeks before a desirable result is obtained.
10. Onion juice
After extracting the juice of onion apply it to the skin tags and leave it overnight. The process takes 14 to 28 days to show results. Onion juice contains sulfur which dries the skin tag over time.
11. Garlic paste
Take fresh cloves of garlic and mash it into a paste. Put this paste onto the skin tags, and cover it with a bandage. This will ensure that the oil from the garlic paste stays on the skin tag. Keep the dressing on for about two hours, and then remove it (10).
12. Dandelion Stem Juice
The liquid which oozes out after cutting the stem if dandelion is collected and with the help of a swab applied to the skin tag. It is then secured with a bandage or wrap. The procedure is best done with freshly extracted stem juice.
Final words on how to remove skin tags at home
I am sure by now you must have understood how to remove skin tags at home. Skin tags develop due to skin irritation. Constant rubbing and friction on the skin in the presence of sweat and moisture lead to the development of a skin tag. Its incidence increases with age.
Avoid wearing tight undergarments and opt for clothes made out of cotton and natural material. A proper diagnosis of skin tag is necessary as some people tend to mistake a skin tag for warts and other dermal conditions.
Visit your dermatologist and inquire about the treatment options. Do not attempt to surgically remove skin tags at home as it can cause severe scarring and infection. Tea tree oil and other home remedies can be instead tried to make the skin tag fall off naturally.